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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/8025

Title: Supporting social interaction: a collaborative trading game on PDA
Authors: VAN LOON, Heleen
Issue Date: 2007
Citation: Museums and the Web 2007: Proceedings , p. 41-50.
Abstract: ARCHIE is a research project in which the educational staff of the Gallo-Roman Museum collaborates with the Human-Computer Interaction research group of the Expertise Centre for Digital Media (Hasselt University) in the context of expansion of the museum. Starting point of this interdisciplinary collaboration is our strong belief that handheld guides are a promising medium to enhance the visitor's learning experience in a museum. Recently, mobile devices are becoming a common aid to support a museum visit, though the first PDA-based applications also revealed some important shortcomings: the device demands lots of attention, tends to displace the surrounding objects and generates the unintended side effect that it's a quite individual, isolated experience. However, many studies have pointed out that interactions with the exhibit, as well as communication and social interaction between visitors are key points of a successful learning environment. Designing for interaction asks for a mental switch. Main reason why current solutions fail is that the hardware and content are designed and structured for retrieval by one person rather than by multiple persons. We want to deal with the above mentioned unintended side effects and explore the possibilities an interactive, mobile and networked museum guide can offer to (groups of) visitors: a greater versatility for visitors to tailor information to their needs and interests (personalization), to discover the exhibits at their own pace (localization) and to communicate and interact with family or group members (social interaction). Three services make up the core of the system we are developing: a group communication facility, automatic personalization and WiFi-based localization. Collaborative context-aware applications can be built using these services of the framework. A collaborative trading game for (school) groups of children (aged 10-14 years) is the first application we build using these services to verify the usefulness of the services and test whether it supports our goals. The trading game concerns the introduction of social differentiation in West European society (round 825 BC). There are 4 players in the game who participate in the collaborative application through a PDA and who have different roles, property, exchangeable goods and goals. We designed the museum game in this way that every player is dependent on the concrete actions of other players; only through social interaction and cooperation can they come to a good end. Every player has his own character (avatar) and all participants can communicate directly to each other using their PDAs and Voice-over-IP technology. They can use this to negotiate on trade proposals and to help each other solving questions. Indirect communication between participants is carried out by the trade actions, which are necessary to accomplish the game. In this paper we present the ARCHIE project, its objectives and framework overview, make clear why we want to stress on social interaction and give some important design sensitivities that should be taken into account while designing for interaction. We present a first application, a collaborative trading game for (school)groups of children, from conceptual stage towards final implementation and conclude with user test results.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/8025
ISBN: 1-885626-34-7
Category: C1
Type: Proceedings Paper
Appears in Collections: Research publications

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